Week of February 13 (DAY Class): Miguel Piñero’s Poetry

Announcements: We’ll be signing up for a group presentations in next Tuesday’s class. Look through the syllabus and think about what you might be interested in. Options are Amiri Baraka’s Dutchman, Ernesto Quiñonez’s Bodega Dreams, Angie Cruz’s Soledad, or Assata Shakur’s autobiography.

Tuesday, February 13th: We move on to Miguel Piñero and read poetry selections from Outlaw: The Collected Works. Read the “Introduction to the Poetry of Miguel Piñero” at the beginning of the book.

  • Then read:
  • “La Bodega Sold Dreams”,
  • “A Lower East Side Poem”,
  • “The Book of Genesis According to San Miguelito”,
  • “This is Not the Place Where I Was Born”,
  • “Black Woman With the Blond Wig On”,
  • “Kill, Kill, Kill”. (Up to page 17.)

It’s not a lot of reading, however, you must read the poems slowly and carefully and choose 2 of them to read more than once. Take notes on key points that you think are significant, funny, interesting, or do a nice job of telling the story of the city. As with Pietri, while reading the intro at the beginning of the book with Piñero’s bio, look for cues from his life story that show how he approached his writing.

Questions to think about as you read:

  • Based on Piñero’s biographical story, how do/don’t his stories match the life he’s living?
  • How does Piñero’s work differ from Pietri’s in form or content?
  • What language does he use and what effect does that have on his poetry?
  • What audiences do you think Piñero is writing for?
  • How do the characters in Piñero’s descriptions of “Loisaida” (Lower East Side) differ from Pietri’s characters in El Barrio

For Thursday 2/15, read the following poems from Outlaw:

  • “Running Scared”,
  • “Seeking the Cause”,
  • “New York City Hard Times Blues”,
  • “Bastard Streets”, and
  • “The Lower East Side is Taking”

Again, it’s not a lot of reading, but you need to read the poems slowly and carefully. Take good notes and think about the questions above as you read.

If you keep up with the weekly reading and take good notes, then you’ll be well prepared for the midterm and final exam and get much more out of the class!

Watch Piñero read “Seeking the Cause”